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  • Best Fitness-Class Instructor

    Sandra Vado-Contreras from Vibe 365 Fitness

    It can be intimidating to walk into a fitness class for the first time, but Sandra Vado-Contreras makes everyone feel welcome, and has the first timer sweating in no time. Her personal training sessions, Pilates and high-intensity Zumba classes definitely can leave you hurting the next day, but she's so upbeat, positive, and engaging, that she keeps people coming back for more, which is why most of her classes are full of regulars whom she knows by name. She'll often... More >>

  • Best Fitness-Class Instructor

    Sandra Vado-Contreras from Vibe 365 Fitness

    It can be intimidating to walk into a fitness class for the first time, but Sandra Vado-Contreras makes everyone feel welcome, and has the first timer sweating in no time. Her personal training sessions, Pilates and high-intensity Zumba classes definitely can leave you hurting the next day, but she's so upbeat, positive, and engaging, that she keeps people coming back for more, which is why most of her classes are full of regulars whom she knows by name. She'll often... More >>

  • Best Place for a Mani/Pedi

    Aqua Spa

    This Inner Richmond day spa only boasts four pedicure tubs and four manicure stations, so it's best to make a reservation at this tranquil spot. Before your toes hit the water, the friendly staff offers you tea, puts a warm wrap around your shoulders, and turns on the massage chair. There's an endless supply of tabloid magazines, but there's a good chance you'll never get to that Brangelina story, because they do foot and hand massages that are so relaxing... More >>

  • Best Upscale Consignment Store

    Goodbyes - Womens Store

    These Laurel Heights consignment stores, sitting across the street from each other, are the best places to pick up a Chloe dress or Prada boots without breaking the bank. Each piece is in great condition and the two locations, one for women's wear only and one for both genders, feature more classic than trendy looks, which means those boots won't go out of style next season. If wanting to trade in a pair of Christian Louboutins or an Armani sports... More >>

  • Best Way to Get Across the Bay After Dark

    Tideline Water Taxi

    Forget the tethers of general ferry service, and stay for that extra drink in Sausalito. Tideline Water Taxi offers service for up to six to S.F. piers 1.5 and 40; Hyde Street; and the St. Francis Yacht Club, with destinations across the bay including Angel Island, Tiburon, and Sausalito. For someone who wants to impress a date or out-of-town guests, this is the way to do it. What's cooler than bringing someone to waiting boat so that the two of... More >>

  • Best Place to Dress up Your Inner Stripper for Less than a Lap Dance

    New York Apparel

    Nestled between Ploy II Thai Cuisine and the Sockshop in the hippie section of Upper Haight, this unassuming storefront hosts one of the city's best selections of lingerie, dance apparel and, ahem, club wear. From fishnets and thigh highs to bras and butt shorts, everything you need for that sexy nurse outfit or schoolgirl strip tease is at New York Apparel. And the prices are lower than the boutiques, so you can dress up your ba-dunk-a-dunk without breaking the bank.... More >>

  • Best Place to Find Your Hip-Hop Swagger

    City Dance Studios

    From waving and popping to windmills and head spins, City Dance is the studio of choice for S.F. street dancers. There are two open practice sessions a week, each hosted by luminaries of the local hip-hop scene: Groovmekanex pops and locks on Monday nights, and Soul Sector hosts mixed practices on Wednesdays. Classes in new and old school hip-hop are offered daily, and the teachers include members of award-winning dance teams like Funkanometry and Academy of Villains. And when street... More >>

  • Best Place to Make Your Troubles Disappear (or Learn to Saw a Woman in Half)

    Misdirections Magic Shop

    Time was, every town had at least one magic shop, but thanks to the rise of the Internet and the decline of retail, they're practically an endangered species. Misdirections has survived by helping to foster a community of magicians, while still serving the casual dabbler. It has all the usual card tricks, wolf whistles, whoopee cushions, magic wands and vanishing foam balls expected of a magic store. But it also has a magic club and lecture series that caters to... More >>

  • Best Place to Learn Your Same-Sex Wedding Dance

    Vima Dance Studio

    The Supreme Court might be poised to rule on the legality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, but as far as history is concerned, the verdict on gay marriage is in. And it's a fair bet that many of those couples are dreading the traditional wedding dance as much as their straight counterparts. They should head to Vima Dance Studio. Dance Director Photis Pishiaras specializes in same-sex ballroom dance. Pishiaras and his dance partner Ron Jenkins (also... More >>

  • Biggest Retail Sideshow


    When the Japanese fashion retail giant Uniqlo first debuted in San Francisco in October, there was a red velvet rope and a bouncer to manage the huge lines that formed outside to get a glance at a true fashion circus. Upon first making it into the stark white store, pristine rows of identical clothes crafted in endless bright hues seem to defy the so-called variety of other shops. (Uniqlo makes other retailers' inventories look thin by comparison.) A chirpy recorded... More >>

  • Best Thrift-By-The-Pound

    Clothes Contact

    Thrifting is best when you have no idea what you're looking for — you don't know what you'll find, but it's sure to be something good. However, it can get a little frustrating when you know exactly what you need — retro Giants T-shirts, perhaps, or a pile of vintage scarves to beef up your collection — yet can't find it. Enter Clothes Contact, which prices its garments per pound rather than per item. This system makes it easy to... More >>

  • Best Thrift Store

    Thrift Town

    Even with a new posh, heavily-curated vintage store popping up on Valencia or Haight Street every other week, there's something about this tried-and-true Mission thrift store that never gets old. Thrift Town boasts that they put out 4,000 new items on their floor every day, which is hard to believe until you've seen just how many racks are crammed into the space. But Thrift Town's true treasure is hidden in the furniture section on the second floor — should you... More >>

  • Best Vintage Store


    When it comes to stockpiling dresses for your retro pinup wardrobe, look no further than Schauplatz. The store's tough buying standards means that nothing on the rack is less than impeccable, and the entire stock originates from several generations prior to ours. The staff is effervescent and fervently helpful, and the rotation of old soul records is guaranteed to transport you to bygone decades.... More >>

  • Best Lingerie

    Dark Garden

    This boutique's proprietress, Autumn Adamme, has been handcrafting corsets in San Francisco for more than twenty years. Her shop, hidden away in Hayes Valley, is a paradise of silks, ribbons and trims that are whipped together in the back of the store into whatever custom creations her clients desire. But first-timers don't need an intimate knowledge of the corsetry world to make a purchase here — Dark Garden offers ready-to-wear items as well, which cinch just enough to feel shockingly... More >>

  • Best Social Media-Savvy Boutique

    Mira Mira

    Sure, it's fun to browse the carefully-curated racks of this cute Mission boutique, and much too easy to consistently find yourself shelling out your cash for their trendy wares. But it's just as much fun — if not more so — to keep up with Mira Mira online. The shop regularly updates its Tumblr with fresh photo shoots of their newest apparel, as well as mood boards to keep its fashionable following inspired. Mira Pickett, the owner, also regularly arranges... More >>

  • Best Jewelry


    Although this boutique is stocked with plenty of beautiful clothes, you'll always find us with our noses pressed up against the jewelry case, gawking at Reliquary's stunning collection of vintage and modern gems. The store touts itself as "trend-resistant," and nowhere is that more evident than in its timeless jewelry selections. In addition to "trend-resistant," we'll add "dunce-proof" to Reliquary's résumé — purchase any piece you like, but you'll always look fabulous.... More >>

  • Best Designer Duds

    MAC - Modern Appealing Clothing

    MAC sells the kinds of clothes you never expect to find in a city where all the CEOs wear sweatshirts: designer collections, architectural pieces, high-end mens- and womenswear. It stocks the simplistic, structural designs of Commes des Garcons, Maison Martin Margiela, and others that feel right at home in the store's industrial Dogpatch location. Pick through the well-known labels and you'll also find several up-and-coming local designers.... More >>

  • Best Shoes

    Shoe Biz

    We're convinced Shoe Biz is hiding a magical magnet somewhere in the store that sucks our credit cards right out of our wallets. We'd put up a fight, but frankly, the store is doing our closets a favor. The killer selection of men's and women's shoes means you can take your date shopping and he'll never complain — and he'll probably wind up with a few new pairs of his own. Be careful not to miss the sale section in... More >>

  • Best Local Designer

    440 Brannan

    Jarred Garza's Brannan Street boutique and studio is one of San Francisco's hidden gems. Although you'd never guess it from looking at his clothes, Garza has a background in designing costumes for the circus and Burning Man. These days, he's taking a more subtle approach, crafting cocktail dresses from upcycled vintage fabrics. But don't think he's lost his edge — Garza likes to manipulate the line between masculine and feminine in his work, and will customize a design to fit... More >>

  • Best Place to (Legally) Get High

    Lounge 847

    The days of smoking lounges are on their way out. Thank the federal government for that. While you can, gather publicly in a spot where cannabis complements the game of pool or the 49ers, Giants, Sharks, or Warriors game on one of the many flatscreens at this tidy South of Market hangout provides. The polite but firm staff doles out vaporizers, water pipes and straight glass as needed, and for those who question the wisdom of a third-floor space for... More >>

  • Best Cannabis Dispensary

    The Hemp Center

    It's not easy selling green. The city's only westside pot club is now one of San Francisco's oldest continuously operating medical cannabis dispensaries — and it's easy to see why this Richmond District dispensary has persisted. A friendly and welcoming crew doles out medicine at a discount to seniors and the disabled, and a spot at the bar in front of a vaporizer and the Giants on TV cuts through the densest Avenues fog.... More >>

  • Best Barbershop (For Non-Local Transplants)

    Joe's Barbershop

    Newcomers to town without a barbershop of their own may be hard-pressed to fit in on Fillmore Street or Geneva Avenue, where hangers-out are still fresh meat even after a decade. Beards and bikes are welcome to get cut here, as are fades and shaved heads (straight razor for the latter), bears and cubs, gays and straights, longhairs and so on. Owner Joe Gallagher has been taking a little off the top and sides since 2004. Not even a March... More >>

  • Best Tattoo Shops to Turn You Into a Painted Lady (Or Man)

    Tattoo City

    By Kate Conger Everyone's getting inked these days — but it's less common to see a truly stunning tattoo. Luckily, artists have flocked here since the Barbary Coast era, and finding one to collaborate with won't be nearly as painful as the tattoo itself. The man partially responsible for San Francisco's predilection toward tattooing, Don Ed Hardy, still runs Tattoo City (700 Lombard St., 345-9437) after 40 years in the business. His small team of artists adeptly covers a range... More >>

  • Best Place to Find a Collar Worth Popping

    Department 17

    Jay Gatsby would feel right at home in Hayes Valley's Department Seventeen and its stellar selection of button-down shirts. Aspiring dapper dressers can browse through racks holding varying styles of Japanese denim and subtle cotton patterns from designers like Adam Band and Post Overalls. Of course there's a large selection of pocket squares, and you can layer up for S.F.'s variable temperatures with outerwear like padded vests from Crescent Down Works. The boutique also stocks some pants, shoes, womenswear, and... More >>

  • Best Place to Stroll in Naked and Walk Out Stylish


    Granted, this problem may only arise for time-travelers and Terminators, but still: If anyone of the male persuasion ever finds themselves in San Francisco lacking all clothing and outfitting save for a diamond ring and/or a debit card, they ought to stumble straight into Unionmade. This shop in the Castro retails every layer of man-friendly outfits and accessories, from vintage-style boxer shorts to premium eyewear; it even carries bags, scarves, magazines, and collars for dogs. Given the store's focus on... More >>

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